ZNBC journalist testifies in Kambwili’s racial remarks case

Magistrates Court: File picture

Senior ZNBC reporter Mark Ziligone yesterday narrated to the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court how, after seeing a video of Chishimba Kambwili allegedly uttering racial remarks against an Indian national, carried out an investigation before writing a story.

Ziligone was testifying in a matter in which Kambwili is charged with one count of expressing or showing hatred, ridicule or contempt for persons because of race.

It is alleged that Kambwili on February 19, this year, expressed racial remarks on Rajesh Kumar Verma, an Indian national.

When the matter came up for commencement of trial before Principal Resident Magistrate Jennipher Bwalya, Monday, Ziligone, 29, testified that on February 19, this year, a video of Kambwili allegedly uttering racial remarks against an Indian national, who was operating a road compactor, went viral on social media.

He added that the said video was on Facebook sites like Zambia Reports and others.

Ziligone said after he saw the said video, he presented it as a news idea to his assignment editor and afterward carried out an investigation to establish where the incident happened.

He said he tried to get a hold of Kambwili to get his side of the story, but his phone went unanswered, but added that he managed to get a reaction from Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya who condemned the incident.

“After I saw the video, I downloaded it using my phone. I carried out some investigations to establish as to where that incident happened. I established that that place was in Munali. I visited the site where the incident happened and asked people who were present. They confirmed to me that the incident of honourable Kambwili and the Indian man happened from there,” he told the Court.

“I tried to call him (Kambwili) using my phone, but his phone went unanswered. I went on to work on the story after I got a reaction of Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya over the matter. She condemned the move. I saved the video on the computer system of ZNBC from my phone. The news was then aired on the 19:00 hours main news on February 20.”

He said after the story was aired on ZNBC main news, police went to his office and he gave them a DVD which contained the package of the story he did.

The State witness also identified Kambwili in court.

At this point, Ziligone through State prosecutor Noah Mwanza, applied to produce his phone as part of his evidence, but Kambwili’s defence lawyer, Keith Mweemba objected on grounds that rules regarding the production of the phone had not been followed.

Mweemba said the State had failed to lay foundation, adding that the danger of manipulation could not be excluded.

He said if the Court was of the opinion that the phone should be submitted, then the State should not be allowed to talk about the content as it had not laid a requisite foundation.

But in reply, Mwanza said he was perplexed with the basis of the objection, adding that a basic rule regarding production of exhibits before court had been demonstrated by the witness.

“He has told the Court that he used his phone to download a video and proceeded to further download it from the phone to ZNBC computer system. He also explained how he investigated the matter and interviewed people on site who confirmed the incident happening,” said Mwanza.

Mwanza said Ziligone had demonstrated that the phone, which he used to record, was in his custody.

Magistrate Bwalya adjourned the matter to today for a ruling on the objection.




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